Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have no idea whose idea it was to pile two kids into the car, drive 16 hours - through the night - to spend half of spring break in Oklahoma. Yes, Oklahoma.
But, I'm thinking that person should have thought it through just a little better.
OK, it was me.
And yes, it was worth it.
But, I'm still recovering.
My car, on the other hand, is nowhere near recovered.
That's an excavation that will have to wait until the spring thaw is accompanied by temperatures in the 70s. At least.
My daughters, 7-year-old Nikki and 8-year-old Katie, were determined to pull their first all-nighter.
One hundred and fifty miles in, Nikki was asking whether Dr. Pepper would keep her awake.
Given her body weight and the fact that she rarely gets to drink caffeine, I thought it had a good shot of working, so I nodded, never thinking about what I'd do if it worked.
One hundred and seventy miles in, she was snoring in the back seat. They woke just in time to see the sunrise and begin the cliche and interminable "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
All in all, it wasn't too bad of a drive.
(I say that because I took the first shift driving, slept through the night and then jumped into the driver's seat for the three-hour home stretch).
Three lazy days of shopping and sleeping late and we were back on the road again. I have to say, driving through the night is hard, but it's quiet.
Driving through the day, you're almost guaranteed that the kids will be awake.
I thought I was as prepared for this situation as technology enabled me to be. I packed DVD players, Nintendoes, mp3 players, toys, even art projects.
You name it.
Still, 16 hours in the car leaves even the best prepared mother scrambling for options.
Don't get me wrong, my girls are traveling angels. They don't require bathroom breaks, hourly snacks or creative diversions.
I've trained them well.
But, on our last stretch, boredom was setting in.
I solved that problem by stopping at one well-stocked convenience store and purchasing some innovative "highway bingo" cards.
That would keep my girls busy.
I was right. It kept them busy.
But not quiet.
"Mom! What's an overpass?"
"Mom! Have you seen a horse?"
"Mom, I need a seven-zero 'M' 'P' 'H' sign, a moving truck, a silo, a tanker truck - what's a tanker truck? - a cor-o-vette and a farm house, tell me when you see any of those. Mom, do you know which ones I need? Mom have you seen any? Mom!"
Yeah, not so much for independent play.
To kill more time, I told the girls they needed to get a black out.
That was smart.
There are no rivers on Colorado's eastern plains.
And, there are no horses in metro Denver.
On the plus side, the game soon put them to sleep.
Ah, sweet silence.
And in the nick of time, too.
That way, I could turn my complete focus on the fact that I couldn't see the road, let alone what "M" "P" "H" I was supposed to be driving.
Ah, home sweet home.